Courtney Concerned about Impact of Opening up Family Housing Projects to General Public

The Defense Department would need to brief the House Armed Services Committee on the potential impacts to host communities of its policy of opening family housing projects to the general public when occupancy rates drop below certain levels.

The request, an amendment to the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill added during last week’s committee markup, directs DOD to focus on community impacts stemming from changes in the number of non-federally connected civilian children residing in military housing. Officials also should develop recommendations to mitigate possible community impacts.

A growing number of installations recently have expanded eligibility to live in family housing projects to DOD civilians, military retirees, and in some cases, the public as occupancy rates have dropped due to cuts in end strength.  

The amendment, offered by Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney (D), acknowledges that opening up housing projects to the public is needed to ensure the financial viability of the public-private partnerships. “[But] this approach could also pose unanticipated challenges to the communities that support them,” the amendment states.

The language calls for DOD’s analysis to include:

  • a site-by-site census of non-federally connected civilian children living in housing under the Military Housing Privatization Initiative annually from FY 2011 to FY 2015; and
  • an evaluation of projected force structure trends over the next decade that may influence the levels of non-federally connected civilian children.

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